Black History Month featuring Storyteller August Wilson and Portrait Artist Radcliffe Bailey

During the month of February, in celebration of Black History Month, Collins Library will be featuring posts on some of the men celebrated in the traveling exhibition “Men of Change:  Power. Triumph. Truth.” currently on display at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma. Men of Change opened December 21, 2019 and will close March 15, 2020. The Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service developed the exhibit and maintains a website with additional information on the highlighted men.

The Men of Change are arranged by seven themes:  Storytellers, Myth-Breakers, Fathering, Community, Imagining, Catalysts, and Loving. Artists were invited to interpret each of the men in portraits that are as diverse as the African-Americans they represent.

Photograph of August Wilson by Adger Cowens. Lost and Found [August Wilson], 2013. Radcliffe Bailey. © Radcliffe Bailey. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Storyteller:  August Wilson
August Wilson was born April 27, 1945 in Pittsburgh, PA and died October 2, 2005 in Seattle, WA. A celebrated playwright, he dramatized the African American experience via his ten-play cycle. Each of the works in the cycle take place in a different decade; the earliest, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone is set in 1911 and the most recent, Radio Golf, the year is 1997. His plays have been both critical and box office successes, garnering Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards. Fences and The Piano Lesson were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for Drama; and Wilson is the only playwright to have won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for best American play seven times. On October 2005, shortly after Wilson’s death, the Virginia Theatre was renamed the August Wilson Theatre, becoming the only Broadway theater to bear the name of an African American.

Photograph (left) by Jackie Cotton, 2015.

August Wilson Plays
Plays not owned by Collins Library can be borrowed from libraries in Summit.

  • Jitney, 1982
  • Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom: A Play in Two Acts, 1984   Collins Library   Print Books   PS3573.I45677 M3 1985
  • Fences, 1985   Collins Library   Print Books   PS3573.I45677 F4 1986
  • Joe Turner’s Come and Gone: A Play in Two Acts, 1986   Collins Library   Print Books   PS3573.I45677 J64 1988
  • The Piano Lesson, 1987   Collins Library   Print Books   PS3573.I45677 P54 1990
  • Two Trains Running, 1990   Collins Library   Print Books   PS3573.I45677 T96 1992
  • Seven Guitars, 1995  Collins Library   Print Books   PS3573.I45677 S48 1997
  • King Hedley II, 2000
  • Gem of the Ocean, 2003  Collins Library   Print Books   PS3573.I45677 G46 2006
  • How I Learned What I Learned, 2003
  • Radio Golf, 2005  Collins Library   Print Books   PS3573.I45677 R33 2007

Portrait Artist:  Radcliffe Bailey

Radcliffe Bailey is a painter, sculptor, and mixed media artist who utilizes the layering of imagery, culturally resonant materials, and text to explore themes of ancestry, race, and memory. Bailey believes that by translating his personal experiences, he can achieve an understanding of, and a healing from, a universal history. His work is often created out of found materials and certain pieces from his past, including traditional African sculpture, tintypes of his family members, piano keys, and Georgia red clay.

Bio from the Jack Shainman Gallery; image from the New Gallery of Modern Art

Exhibit photographs by Angela Weaver, 2020.

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